Category Archives: Dogs

Beware of False Prophets

Wolf in Sheeps Clothing

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.   (Matthew 7:15)

This verse begins with the imperative verb “beware” – the Greek prosecho meaning to pay attention to or be cautious about.  This is not just good advice; it is a command from our Lord.  There are false prophets in abundance all around us.  They come to us sheep, dressed up in sheep’s clothing; that is, they infiltrate Christian gatherings disguised as Christians.  Often they fill great pulpits and attract large crowds.  Jesus warns that they are “ravening wolves.”  The Greek word translated “ravening” is hárpages meaning “rapacious,” i.e., given to seizing for plunder or the satisfaction of greed, and inordinately greedy; predatory; extortionate.  These are out to exploit the flock for their personal gain.  Their strategy is simple: tell the sheep what they want to hear.  “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;” (2 Timothy 4:3).

So how are we to recognize these wolves in sheep’s clothing?  After all, on the surface, they appear harmless.  Jesus provided the answer.  “Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16a).  Therefore, we are called to be fruit inspectors.  “Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” (v. 16b).  The concept is simple: “every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit” (v. 17).  The challenge is in discerning the good fruit from the bad fruit.  What standard is to be used?  The Berean church had the right idea.  “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).  John tells us to “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). The Greek word translated “try” is dokimazō, and it means “to test (literally or figuratively); by implication to approve: – allow, discern, examine, (ap-) prove, try.”

Always measure the words of the prophet against the Word of God. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).  The Greek word translated as “study” is spoudazō  and it means “to use speed, that is, to make effort, be prompt or earnest: – do (give) diligence, be diligent (forward), endeavour, labour, study.”  “Rightly dividing” is the Greek word orthotomeō, which means “to make a straight cut, that is, (figuratively) to dissect (expound) correctly (the divine message): – rightly divide.” So when we make an earnest effort and give diligence to correctly dissecting the Word of God (Truth), we should be able to spot the false prophet because his words will not match up with God’s Word. In this way, we can tell the good fruit from the bad, and never fall prey to the false prophets.

On a somewhat different note, but still very much related: some think that making such judgments is somehow “un-Christian,” and any kind of judging should be avoided. They come to this conclusion because earlier, in this same chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:1-2). Obviously, from what Jesus said afterward, He did not mean for us to put our discernment on the shelf. We need to exercise discernment and to make judgments in order to identify the false prophets disguised in sheep’s clothing. What we are not to do is pass “holier-than-thou” judgments on our brothers and sisters in Christ except to help them out of some error or sin into which they have fallen. For that a close self-examination is required before proceeding. As for the wolves, beware, be vigilant, and learn to recognize their false message.

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Later, Little Friend

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And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely. (Hosea 2:18)

About two months ago I wrote about our little dog Tina in my article “Doggie Heaven.” At that time her obvious declining health helped prepare us for the inevitable. I wrote the piece with a heavy heart, and with a rather hopeless feeling that this would be the end forever. Like many people, I believed that only humans are immortal (in essence) because, after all, we have been created in the “image of God” (Genesis 1:26). Animals are God’s creatures, and He cares about them, but they do not bear the Imago Dei. That remains a true statement, but I have come to the conclusion that my former belief that only humans have an eternal soul is false.

Shortly after posting that article, a very good and respected friend gave me a book by Gary Kurz to encourage me as I walked though this “valley of the shadow of death.” In the book, Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates, Kurz walks us though Scripture and demonstrates, through Scripture alone, that animals do indeed have eternal souls, and they do go to heaven when they die. This assurance made my heart glad because it was the conclusion to which I was coming on my own. I cannot possibly cover every aspect in this short post that Kurz takes an entire book to cover, but the concept, when you seriously think about it, is very simple.  When God completed His work of creation, He said it was “very good.” There was no sin in the world, neither was there any death. (This fact should make Christians reject evolution in any way, shape or form. Death is NOT “very good.”) Every creature having the “breath of life” (Hebrew: ruach) was meant to live forever. Death is the enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26); therefore death could not be part of a “very good” creation. But through man’s sin, death entered the world (Romans 5:12) and the whole creation was affected (Romans 8:22). Animals suffer the curse of death even though they are innocent of sin. This is why animals were slain from the very beginning (Genesis 3:21) to atone for the sins of man – innocent blood was required. But the blood of animals cannot atone for the sins of man (Hebrews 9:12), only the sinless blood of the Lamb of God could atone for our sins. Jesus died for the sins of man. He did not die for animals, because they did not sin. In time, He will make all things new (Revelation 21:5). When He does, all those sparrows who escaped not His notice when they fell, will fill the New Heavens and New Earth, and so will all His other creatures as the prophet said (Isaiah 11:6-9; 65:25). All those animals in whom is the “breath of life” will live again.

Last weekend, our little Tina fought for every breath. Early Saturday morning, in the middle of the night we took her to the animal ER thinking that we might have to put her down that night. The vet gave her some injections to help her discomfort and sent us home. Later that morning, Tina was not doing any better, it seemed, so we took her in to our regular vet. He diagnosed her with bloat and prescribed barium to help relieve the gas and Benadryl to help with her breathing. But that did not help either, and she continued to struggle for every breath. Poor baby was so tired, but she had to hold herself up in order to breathe, and could not lay down to sleep or rest. It was such a pitiful sight to watch her sit in the middle of the floor, head drooping down trying to sleep but unable to. That night we propped her up with towels and medicated her so she could rest. The next day, Sunday, was another day of fighting for every breath. Monday morning came and we took our baby to the vet one last time. We came home without her. I held her in my arms as the vet administered the fatal injection, and as I watched her ruach leave her little body, I wept uncontrollably – we both did.

Almost a week has gone by, and there is not a day that goes by that we don’t think about her. She was just a little dog, but she left such a big hole in our lives. The book my friend gave me, Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates, has given me the assurance that even though she is gone for now, she is not gone forever. We will see her again. And she’ll have both eyes!

Later, little friend!

 

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Doggie Heaven

Peeper

Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God(Luke 12:6)

Tina, our fourteen and a half-year old Chorkie (half Chihuahua, half Yorkie) is coming to the end of her life, and the prospect of her demise is breaking our hearts. We got Tina when she was not quite three months old from my sister. She was so tiny that she fit in the palm of my hand, and she looked rather ugly with thin, grayish, wiry hair that stuck out in all directions. In the evenings when June, my wife, would come home from the hospital where she worked as a labor and delivery nurse, she would take Tina and put her in the side pocket of her scrubs, and Tina was perfectly happy to go along for the ride. She didn’t stay that small though. She grew to a whopping seven pounds, and our local vet cautioned us that she was getting too fat. Well, she didn’t get any bigger than that, but what she lacked in size, she made up in heart. Tina loves people and tolerates other dogs as long as they know that she’s the boss. She knows no fear and she won’t back down from a fight, even when the aggressor outweighs her by twenty pounds. That’s how she lost her left eye, and how she got her nickname, “Peeper.”

We have many fond memories of the time God has blessed us with our little girl. I can’t believe that I was once ready to get rid of her because she refused to be housebroken. She was almost a year old and she just wasn’t getting it. I told her, “If you don’t stop doing your business inside the house by the end of the week, you’re out of here!” I don’t know if she understood, but from that day on, we had no more problems. When I think of what we would have missed out on had I followed through on my threat, I just thank God that she got the message.

As I ponder what lies ahead for us – will she pass quietly in her sleep? – will we have to watch her waste away slowly because she refuses to eat? – will we have to put her down and hold her as her life leaves her tiny body? – I wonder, why does God allow us to love these little creatures so deeply that our hearts ache when we lose them? I think, “They are just animals.” But are they just animals? Anyone who has ever loved a dog knows that each one has their own personality. They can’t talk to us in human language, but they do communicate. We know what they are thinking and what they want, and they know how to get what they want from us. And when we talk to them, they listen, and it is almost as if they understand. When we are happy, they are happy. When we are down, they seem to know, and they will wrap themselves up next to us, or crawl up on our laps to comfort us. Remember the story of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16:19-31? The rich man had no concern for the plight of the poor beggar camped outside his gates. Jesus noted that the dogs had more compassion for this poor wretch and “came and licked his sores” (v. 21). Dogs are like that.

I hope that God has a special place for dogs in heaven. I know that the Bible doesn’t talk about such things. Isaiah speaks of animals in the Millennial Kingdom: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ [crocodile’s] den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:7-9). Since the wolf is of the “dog kind,” surely domestic dogs will be included there too. The Millennial Kingdom, although it will be wonderful, is not quite heaven. There is yet a New Heaven and a New Earth to be created (Revelation 21:1). There is no mention of animals in the New Heaven and the New Earth, but it is safe to guess that since God created animals before man in His first creation, then He probably will have animals in the New Heaven and New Earth. But do dogs go to heaven?

In the beginning when God created, there was no death. Animals did not die and man did not die. It stands to reason, therefore, that animals too were created to live forever. But that ended when man sinned in the Garden (Genesis 3), and death entered into the world because of man’s sin (Romans 5:12). Man’s sin brought death upon all of God’s creation so “that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22). Animals suffer death innocently because of our sin, but Jesus did not come to die for dogs. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15). In redeeming mankind, Christ will redeem His creation. “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

No, the Bible doesn’t say what happens to doggies when they die. That does not mean that God does not care about them. Our beginning verse reminds us that even seemingly insignificant sparrows do not fall without their Creator taking notice of them. So, as I pray for my little four-footed friend, I ask that God will take note of her. Remember what a faithful little companion she has been. Remember that the curse of death is not her fault; it’s mine. So, if there is a doggie heaven, then please, Lord, make a place for our little Tina.

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